ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has raised the alarm over the alleged infiltration of riverine communities in the Niger Delta by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen.
It warned the indigenes of the Ijaw communities to be on the alert and avoid a repeat of the massacre of worshipers in a Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State recently.
The National Spokesman, IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, raised the concerns on Monday at a news conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
Ekerefe stated that an intelligence report available to the IYC revealed that the movement of strange men under the guise of being Fulani herdsmen and non-indigenes was making indigenes of the communities in the region to become uncomfortable and agitated.
He said the infiltration of the riverine communities might have arisen because of the tight security architecture in Rivers and Delta states.
He stated: “We want to call on Ijaw youths to be on the red alert and not allow a repeat of the gory killings in Owo in Ondo state. We have observed some strange movements and are not comfortable.
“We are also calling on security agencies to be on the red alert and protect the lives and property of the people. We also call on non-indigenes residing in Ijaw communities to be vigilant and not allow unlawful individuals to infiltrate their midst to perpetrate evil in Ijaw land.”
Ekerefe also condemned the last weekend church killings in Owo in Ondo and called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Service Chiefs to rejig the security architecture of the country.
He described the poor handling of the rising killings and insecurity in the country as shameful and pathetic despite a series of meetings held between the President and security chiefs.
He, however, called on the Presidential standard bearers of the various political parties to take note that the Ijaw nation, which forms the fourth largest ethnic nationality in the country, would only support a political party and its candidate with sincere focus on true federalism, restructuring, review of revenue sharing formular and others.
Ekerefe urged the political parties and their standard bearers to have special consideration for youths as running mates for the position of a Vice President as the search for the choice of running mates is ongoing.
He stated: “We urge the existing political parties and their flagbearers to embrace a running mate between the ages of 50 years and below. A running mate that has the acceptance of millions of youths in the country.
“It’s notable and worthy to say that the youths from the Niger Delta region and other five geo-political zones, after due consultations know and recognize that the youths have the largest percentage ratio of the electorate and are most affected by the type of leadership produced.
“We have written to leading political parties on the need to allow youthful personalities as Vice Presidential candidates. We have many youths in abundance including Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda from Borno State (APC), Chief Igho Sanomi, a business mongul from Agbor, Delta state, Mr Hebert Wigwe, a CEO of one of Nigeria’s leading bank from Rivers State, young qualified governors and among many others in the country.
On the continued incarceration of an ex-militant leader and member of House of Representatives, Hon. Fara Dagogo, he restated the IYC’s call on Governor Nyesom Wike to immediately order his release and start the process of reconciliation with his kinsman and standard bearer of the PDP in Rivers State.